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James M. Hingeley Receives Pro Bono Publico Service Award

Friday, August 15, 2014   (0 Comments)
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James M. Hingeley received an honor during the VBA's 2014 Summer Meeting that is one of the organization's most prestigious awards: The Roger D. Groot Pro Bono Publico Service Award.

Hingeley, like the other honoree of the evening, Jeanne F. Franklin, is a highly deserving recipient. Both exemplify the highest ideals of the legal profession and what it means to be a citizen lawyer.

Jim Hingeley, recipient of the VBA's 2014 Groot AwardVBA President John L. Walker III had these remards upon presenting the honor:

"The first award that I will present tonight is the Roger D. Groot Pro Bono Publico Service Award, which is named for the revered and beloved professor Roger Groot, who taught at the Washington & Lee Law School for 33 years until his death in 2005. Professor Groot was a combat veteran in Vietnam who began his distinguished teaching career at W&L in 1973. A scholar in criminal law and procedure, Professor Groot was involved in many high-profile capital murder cases in the commonwealth, and was a driving force in the success of the VBA’s Capital Defense Workshop, an annual event at which capital defense counsel from around the commonwealth receive comprehensive and highly valuable training.Professor Groot also served as a member of the VBA’s Board of Governors.

"The Groot Award is given in recognition and appreciation of outstanding pro bono and community service. This year’s recipient of the Groot Award is James M. Hingeley of Charlottesville. Jim has served the VBA with great distinction over the years – as a dedicated member of our Board of Governors, as a highly effective advocate for the VBA’s legislative agenda before the General Assembly, as the chair of the VBA’s Criminal Law Section Council, and as a key player in the success of the VBA’s Capital Defense Workshop both as an instructor and as an organizer. It was in this latter role that Jim worked closely with and became good friends with Roger Groot.

"A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School, Jim has the extraordinary intellect that could have landed him a job with the biggest, most well-known law firms in the country. He, however, chose a different path, one that focused on providing exceptional legal services to indigent defendants.

"After working in private practice for 14 years, Jim became public defender for the city of Lynchburg in 1991 and served in that capacity for seven years. He then became public defender for Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville, and he has served with distinction in that capacity for the past 16 years. He has been involved in numerous high-profile cases, and his clients have been the beneficiaries of his considerable talent, skill and passion in the courtroom.

"Not surprisingly, he has been recognized on multiple occasions for his outstanding contributions to the bar and to the public. In 2005, he was named a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation, and in 2008 he was named a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at the Harvard Law School. For the past several years, Jim has taught a Criminal Defense Clinic at the U.Va. Law School.

"In honor of his outstanding pro bono and community service, it is my great pleasure to present Jim Hingeley with the Roger D. Groot Pro Bono Publico Service Award."

Hingeley expressed his thanks and told the audience, "This is indeed a great honor. I’m enormously grateful for receiving this award, especially, as John indicated, an award named in memory of Roger Groot, who is just a towering figure in Virginia law and had done just so many wonderful things. It’s just amazing."

In closing, Hingeley said, "This is a VBA award and I wanted to thank the people of the VBA. I have never worked on a project without the people in the VBA joining in not just willingly but eagerly and enthusiastically, to lend a hand, to suggest a better way of doing things, to call someone in the legislature to help a bill get passed along. The VBA people and the dedication that they have to the public interest is absolutely extraordinary. This is a VBA award and it really belongs to the people of the VBA."


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